Tuesday, February 28, 2012

TUESDAY TANGENT: League of Extraordinary Gentlemen 1950s

For those getting tired of these posts, rest assured that I will eventually run out of time periods for different Leagues. But for now, suffer through yet another list of who /I/ would recruit if I were making a League of Extraordinary Gentlemen(and women). This time, I’m looking at the 50’s era.

Again, the 'rules' for this are basically that the choices must be movie or 'literary' characters, but not full-time members of any comic book combined universe. And as before, I reserve the right to ‘tweak’ aspects of the characters’ backgrounds to suit my own needs. So without further ado...

Agent Robert Graham
From the movie “Them”
Played by James Arness

Agent Graham is a decorated veteran of the second world war and an experienced FBI Agent. His first brush with the extraordinary came when he investigated a strange case of disappearances in the desert southwest- only to discover the culprits were giant ants, an entire colony of them, grown to gigantic proportions by radioactive fallout from nuclear tests. Graham was instrumental in tracking down and eliminating these beasts before they can multiply and spread. As both a lawman and soldier, Agent Graham has a wide range of experience and a capability for keeping his cool even under the most dangerous (and strange) circumstances. For these reasons, he is chosen to head up this particular incarnation of the league.

Professor Bernard Quatermass
From the movie “The Quatermass Experiment
Played by Andre Morell

A brilliant scientist and pioneer for the British Space Program (via his British Experimental Rocket Group). Though middle aged and ‘scholarly’, Quatermass is in rather good shape and does possess skills acquired while serving with the British Intelligence Service during the second world war. His greatest asset, however, is his brain. Quatermass is not only capable of scientific work, but is also a quick thinking, able to react to and think through even the most bizarre and threatening cases. He has personally dealt with extraterrestrial threats to the planet on several occasions- and it is for this reason he was recruited for the team. Though an ex-soldier, Quatermass is no big fan of the military, especially when it comes to his life’s work of exploring space. He serves as second in command of the team, advising Agent Graham in most matters.

Victor Marswell
From the movie “Mogambo”
Played by Clark Gable

Victor Marswell is an accomplished big-game hunter working in Africa. Though he does lead paid hunting expeditions, his main income is through the live capture of animals for zoos. As with many in this era, Marswell is a veteran of the World War, having served in North Africa and Europe. He is a maverick, fond of doing things his own way. He is also a ladies man, often romancing the wealthy society ladies who come on his expeditions. He is a master marksman with nerves of steel, easily able to face down charging elephants. Marswell is also an expert survivalist, able to hunt, camp and forage in a variety of terrains. He is also at least partly versed in the superstitions and traditions of numerous African tribes. Though not necessarily a team player, Marswell’s other skills make up for this, hence his recruitment into the league.

John Robie
From the movie “To Catch a Thief”
Played by Cary Grant

John Robie is the alter ego the infamous burglar known only as “The Cat”. Though American, Robie operated in the South of France until he was captured by the French authorities and imprisoned. He was released, however, in the confusion during the German invasion at the start of World War II. Robie and many of his criminal associates worked for the French resistance throughout the war— and in this way, he earned a pardon when the conflict finally came to an end. Using wealth pilfered prior to the war, Robie thought to retire, but found himself pulled into several ‘capers’ against his wishes. He is an incredibly skilled thief with experience in combat, sabotage and even undercover work. He is also charming and suave, easily able to mix with people of any social strata. Though now in his middle ages and a bit past his prime physically, he is still very capable— a fine addition to the team.

Dr. Clayton Forrester
From the movie “War of the Worlds”
Played by Gene Barry

Though he works as a physicist, Dr. Forrester is an expert in several different scientific areas, including biology, astronomy and even medicine. He is also an avid outdoorsman, athlete and skilled pilot. Forrester is not, perhaps, as brilliant as Professor Quatermass, but he is likewise quite capable of thinking on his feet. His only real ‘weakness’ is his tendency to extrapolate on scarce facts before having the data to back himself up. Even though, his ‘hunches’ turn out to be right more often than not. Though he did not serve on the front line during the War, Forrester did work closely with the Military on the Manhattan Project. He has also been consulted in the past on the issue of possible contact with extra-terrestrial life.


Dr. John Holden
From the movie “Night of the Demon”
Played by Dana Andrews

An American physician and scholar living in England, Dr. Holden was involved in a terrifying encounter with the supernatural while attempting to debunk a cultist by the name of Karswell. The encounter spurred the skeptical doctor into a real study of the ‘truths’ behind the supernatural. Though this occult knowledge would be useful, Holden is not considered a prime ‘field operative’, and thus was not chosen for the team.

Mike “By this time, my lungs were aching for air” Nelson
From the TV Show “Sea Hunt”
Played by Lloyd Bridges

Mike Nelson is an ex-navy diver, decorated for bravery several times during the war. He now runs an independent diving/salvage/rescue team. He has extensive experience in underwater operations and even combat. However, his area of expertise was deemed ‘too narrow’ for inclusion on the main team. Rather, he is to be considered as a possible resource for any cases which require experience with aquatic operations.


Johnny Strabler
From the movie “The Wild One”
Played by Marlon Brando

A young motorcycle gang leader.

Steve Martin
From the movie “Godzilla”
Played by Raymond Burr

A field reporter with contacts in Japan and the far east.

Daisuke Serizawa
From the movie “Godzilla”
Played by Akihiko Hirata

A brilliant, but tormented scientist who has stumbled upon the technology for a weapon he deems too powerful to entrust to mankind.

As you can see, it was rather slim pickings for this era compared to the others. I also was ultimately stumped when it came to famous archetypes for women or non-caucasians to join the league. This isn’t to say there were none of these characters, just that they didn’t fit the ‘action’ mold that I see as necessary for a role within the League.


  1. Kirby Grant as Sky King (Think western cowboy, but with an airplane)

    Need a 1950's female spy? Eve Kendall from North by Northwest? She needs Cary Grant around to save her a lot though and he's busy playing John Robie.

    Kevin McCarthy as Dr. Miles Bennell, who claims to have thwarted an invasion of so called "pod people".

    About the closest strong female with extraordinary experience I can think of would be Julie Adams as Kay Lawrence, who was captured by a "Gill Man" in the Black Lagoon on the Amazon.

    John Galt? :)

    "Young" Dr. Emmett Brown? Could be interesting either before or after 1955.

  2. Actually, I had considered both Eve Kendall and Kay Lawrence, but in the end, they weren't 'recognizable' outside of their movie. i.e. they weren't the main focus of the film and weren't recognizable 'stand alone' character like many of the other females I've used in other incarnations of the League. Both are great suggestions though. I was REALLY trying to find a way to work Grace Kelly into the mix, too- with her character in "To Catch a Thief". Not only was she a great actress, she was (and is still) one of the most gorgeous women ever.

    The Pod People guy, yeah, that's a good suggestion. I'd forgotten about him. Even so, I'm not sure he measures up to Quatermass or Forrester in the 'action scientist' role.

    Young Emmet Brown is a really fun choice actually. Though I may be saving him for my 'Wild West' setting League ;)

    John Galt. Again, I hadn't even considered him. I've never read Atlas shrugged, but I am reasonably familiar with its setting. He is like a 'super man' when it comes to talent and brains, so.. .maybe.

    I had also forgotten about Sky King... but I'm not sure I'd put him before any of the others I have in the 'team'.

    As always, though, some great suggestions.